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Test & Measurement

BT Quality Guy Seeks Fanfare for Better Testing

Brian Buege is leaving his position as head of the BT Global Services Test Strategy and Development unit to join Fanfare Group Inc. as vice president of products, because he is convinced that telecom service providers need better testing solutions for their next-generation products -- and that's what Fanfare aims to provide.

Testing has not kept pace with improvements in development of network services and software, Buege says, forcing service providers to pay more for testing, delay product introduction, or let quality slip.

"It's hard to say for each individual service provider, but I can say I see far more quality issues in solutions now than I have in the past," says Buege, who had joined BT for a three-year stint after working predominantly in enterprise network software and security.

Buege got to know Fanfare as a customer of their test-automation products and was drawn to the company for what he admits is the cliche reason: great people.

"I have dealt with a lot of startups and I could tell from the start that these people were a league above," he says.

But another driving motivation is Buege's belief that Fanfare is taking an approach to automating testing that makes sense for an industry that is starved for better testing options.

"One of the big changes we have seen is that unit costs for development have started to come down," Buege says. "Developers of network solutions have started to become much more productive -- that's why we have been seeing carriers, providers and NEMS [network equipment manufacturers] delivering more solutions to the market more quickly."

Testing has not kept pace with that change, so as development engines crank out more complex solutions, "the step change in the way we test the solutions has not materialized," Buege says.

Many companies have mitigated the impact of higher testing costs by outsourcing testing to offshore facilities where labor costs were cheaper, but those benefits only go so far, according to Buege. Continuing to develop new traditional testing solutions that are static also backfires, because with every new development change, new testing solutions must be produced as well.

Buege maintains Fanfare's iTest suite uses a fundamentally different approach to automating testing. The first step is to build automation tools that enable manual testers to be more productive, and then use those tools also to build automation in the background.

"We give them power tools and the artifacts of those tools allow automation to be built in much more straightforward manner," Buege says. "It's not test first and then automate. With our process, as the manual testers are becoming more productive, I can continue to improve work flows and build automation on the artifacts of their work. By reversing that metaphor, you get a much more controllable and cost-effective path."

Buege says BT experienced many of the benefits of the Fanfare approach, and that, in general, Fanfare's customers see productivity increases of two to three times from using automation tools with their manual testing processes.

"They can take those cost savings and re-invest them or use them as they choose," he says. "We have seen substantial eyebrow-raising increases in productivity and speed to automate, and we can continue to build forward from that."

— Carol Wilson, Chief Editor, Events, Light Reading

Vishnu Goel 12/5/2012 | 4:29:01 PM
re: BT Quality Guy Seeks Fanfare for Better Testing

Brian Buege of BT brings to the table fundamental reason why the T&M power,to increase the Business Performance of NEM and Service Providers,is not appreciated in the C-level suites of these client companies.The challenges are very many:in keeping pace with the new technologies based developments,standardising the testing platforms and operating systems,interfaces and middleware,and miscelaneous parts availability,across wide frequencies.The test automation vendors need to be involved with the NEMs for defining Architectures early and setting mutually targeted test costs as a viable Business case.Virtualisation is the new Capex Reduction Tool at hand for test productivity nowadays.T&M automation companies have to drive such changes both ways and Fanfare like startups will be shaping these changes for their Clients benefits and themselves.Vishnu Goel T&M +919810101238  

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